Exclusive Interview: Cullen Bunn on Venom, Flash Thompson and their future in Philadelphia
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:4855:]]As our old pal Flash Thompson faces a brave new world in Philadelphia, writer Cullen Bunn is shooting some mystery and excitement into his incarnation of Venom.
So CBN Managing Editor Byron Brewer sat down exclusively with the scribe of Wolverine and Deadpool: Killustrated to get the lowdown on the symbiote and the man behind the darkness.
Cosmic Book News: Tell our readers how you became familiar with Venom. Were you a fan as many of us are, or was the book just another assignment?
Cullen Bunn: I remember the first appearance of the symbiote very clearly. I remember where I was when one of my buddies first showed me the issue. I enjoyed that initial symbiote story quite a bit. Over the years, I followed Venom stories occasionally, but I wouldn’t say I was a die-hard Venom fan. When Rick Remender and Tony Moore relaunched the series, though, I jumped back into the book. I really enjoyed the new approach to the character, so I was pretty thrilled when I got the call that I’d be taking over the book.
CBN: After leaving Secret Avengers and all that follows, how will Flash handle control of the symbiote?
Cullen Bunn: Good question! Going into 2013, we’ll see that Flash is really handed the keys to the castle in terms of symbiote control. Hank McCoy supplies him with the drugs he needs to keep the symbiote in check. It becomes his sole responsibility. Now, we know how poorly Flash handles responsibility, but he’s trying really, really hard. That’s enough, right?
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:4852:]]CBN: So why Philly?
Cullen Bunn: In order to forge his own path, Flash needs to move out of New York and out of the shadow of the host of superheroes who call the Big Apple home. Right now (in issues 28 through 30), Flash heads to Philly on a mission. While there, he realizes that the citizens of that city could use a hero.
CBN: Rick Remender left some great threads. Any of those you plan to pick up, or does Philadelphia spell a clean break for Flash?
Cullen Bunn: In many ways, we’re looking at a fresh start with issues 27.1 on. We’re introducing new cast members, new threats, a new job for Flash, new challenges as a hero. But I'd be foolish to forget some of those great plot threads. Rick and I turned Eddie Brock into Toxin during the Savage Six arc. That character will be resurfacing shortly. There are other threads that will come into play in the future. Heck, I recently stumbled onto a forgotten plot thread that dates back to the very beginning of Flash’s tenure as Agent Venom. Declan Shalvey and I are both pretty excited to explore some of those ideas. But we have to take our time with it. Along with the existing threads, we want to create some of our own.
CBN: What can we expect for Venom going into 2013? Any interesting big bads returning? Some new foes?
Cullen Bunn: There are definitely some big bads returning. In issue 30, we see the first of them. There will be some new villains appearing as well … and an arch nemesis that Flash doesn’t even realize he has. We’ll also try to move the Descent storyline forward.
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:4853:]]CBN: Any appearances by Superior Spidey slated?
Cullen Bunn: Superior Spider-Man? Who’s that?
Kidding, of course.
The Superior Spider-Man storyline will weave into Venom in small … and not-so-small … ways.
CBN: Over the years, the symbiote itself has had a "voice" or "relationship" with its host. Anything planned between the alien and Flash?
Cullen Bunn: Yes!
I think Flash (and readers) will start to see the symbiote in a completely different way. The current arc, featuring the U-Foes, plants some seeds for this.
CBN: I know the flavor of the era is street level, but we do have an alien here. Anything cosmic planned?
Cullen Bunn: Nothing immediate.
Flash will be tackling some supernatural threats in the near future, but I like putting Venom in unusual situations, so there’s nothing saying you won’t see something interstellar. The Minimum Carnage storyline was pretty cosmic in scope, so you never know.
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:4854:]]CBN: What the heck is going on with Hellstrom??!
Cullen Bunn: Hellstrom realizes that “the Descent” is coming. One of the Hell-Lords will become the true Devil. This will leave an opening to be filled. Numerous people (Hellstrom and Venom among them) have been marked as potential replacements. Daimon wants to make sure he’s chosen over anyone else. As far as he’s concerned, the only way to combat evil is with an equal amount of evil.
Hellstrom will continue to play a role in Venom … a big role.
Cosmic Book News would like to thank Cullen Bunn for taking time out of his busy holiday schedule to chat with us as well as Marvel Comics publicity maven Arune Singh who helped make this interview possible.
"Venom" #s 29 and 30 hit shelves in January!